Book Review: Stephen Fry’s The Hippopotamus

  "So is that why you came here, then? Just to pour cold water all over us? Just to sneer up your snotty sleeve? If you can't take it seriously, why try and ruin our happiness?" You might be forgiven for thinking that Stephen Fry's The Hippopotamus--a 1994 novel and now a theatrical release--is a British comedy of manners featuring a cantankerous, cynical drunk. But the novel itself, written in Fry's delightfully brilliant voice, is…

Continue reading


030 – Vitamin D and Clinical Trials

  Bizarre behaviour on the beach leads Chris and Jonathan to discuss the merits of vitamin D. Where exactly in the sun's rays does this vitamin hide? Is there a deficiency epidemic? And can this miraculous vitamin reverse the course of diseases? Also: a Superman geek fail; putting the "randomized" back in "randomized clinical trials"; why 1 and 2 are dirty numbers; and pot cures epilepsy (sort of... not really). Vox pop by Thanos Michailopoulos…

Continue reading


Natural Health Products and Pharmacies

  Health Canada has grappled with the issue of regulating natural health products with varying success. A recent editorial in the CMAJ advocates for separating out prescription medication that has been scientifically proven and non-prescription products that sometimes aren't. Given that these products are displayed side by side on store shelves it can be confusing for consumer to know what actually works and what doesn't. Teddy is certainly baffled by the array of products out…

Continue reading


Losing weight, increasing fitness in old age

After my last article on intermittent fasting, which you can read below, a reader contacted me to ask what can older people do to lose weight? What’s the best form of exercise? Well here’s the answer. My latest for the Montreal Gazette: http://montrealgazette.com/opinion/opinion-losing-weight-increasing-fitn... **************************************** The other day I got an email from a reader who had a bone to pick with me regarding my article on intermittent fasting. He asked me why all my articles were…

Continue reading


029 – Antidepressants and Fluoride

  Jonathan takes Chris to a secret location for a surprise that doesn't end well, and all because Chris allegedly said antidepressants don't work. To clarify, we delve into the causes of depression, how antidepressants work, as well as the safety and effectiveness of SSRIs. Oh, and suicidal children. Also: is putting fluoride in the water a communist plot and will NSAIDs give you a heart attack?  Special guest voice acting by Jacob Fortin. Jingle…

Continue reading


Vlog 23: Have We Forgotten What Skepticism Is?

  In light of recent events, self-identified skeptics may need to look back and remember why they call themselves "skeptics" in the first place. What is skepticism? Why do we do it? What are we trying to accomplish? --- TRANSCRIPT: Hey, this is Jonathan from The Body of Evidence. Recent drama I witnessed on YouTube and elsewhere on the Internet has led me to ask myself very basic questions. A community of people may sometimes…

Continue reading


Vlog 22: Can Fidget Spinners Help With ADHD?

Fidget spinners are all the rage, but is there scientific evidence that they can help children with ADHD and autism? Jonathan investigates. --- TRANSCRIPT: Hey, this is Jonathan from The Body of Evidence, If you want to get my attention in a social situation, just say, "You know, that thing that's really popular? Apparently, there's scientific evidence behind it". Today, we talk fidget spinners. It's like a dreidel but with no rules, look... I transfer…

Continue reading


Interview – Timothy Caulfield

  Jonathan interviews Timothy Caulfield, author of the book Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything? Topics include Trudeau's cupping marks; pseudoscience tailor made for athletes; the importance of anecdotes; Bill Nye and bridge destruction; the white hat bias in meditation research; the state of stem cell therapies; Tim Caulfield's legal career path; celebrity culture; cognitive biases; J.K. Rowling's experiment on luck; direct-to-consumer genetic testing for wine tasting; the science of science communication; the ironically postmodern…

Continue reading


Intermittent Fasting

Does Intermittent Fasting work? That depends on what you mean by work. Even though the concept has gotten really popular, the evidence doesn't really support the idea that this form of dieting is any better than conventional diets. You can read the full Montreal Gazette article here: http://montrealgazette.com/opinion/opinion-alternate-day-fasting-vs-a-classic-weight-loss-diet  and then marvel at the controversial foot picture. ******************************************************* The other day, over dinner, I got into a debate with some friends about intermittent fasting. It’s a…

Continue reading